Poor soil physical condition is identified as the most limiting factor to successful row crop production on mined land in Illinois. Compacted mine soils lack a continuous macropore network to provide for water movement, aeration and root system extension. Critical to reclamation success are i) selection of the best available soil materials used in soil reconstruction and ii) reclamation methods which will minimize compaction during soil reconstruction. In Illinois, topsoil replacement has generally enhanced seedbed preparation, stand establishment, and early season growth when compared to graded spoil materials. Yield response to topsoil replacement has ranged from strongly positive to strongly negative. Excellent corn and soybean yields have been achieved when reclamation methods result in low strength soils. Total crop failures have commonly occurred when high traffic soil replacement methods result in mine soils with high soil strength.